Yes, hello! I’m here to stir-up some trouble. Well, that’s not exactly my intention but I may offend someone in the next 1,000 or so words. Sorry, if I do!
In high school, I worked in a restaurant for about 4 years. I started off busing tables and washing dishes. Eventually I was asked to cut up some vegetables when the cooks were in a hurry. That turned into becoming a full-time cook. We hired someone new to wash the dishes.
I spent most weekends at the restaurant. I like to think I’ve seen a good bit of how a restaurant works.
But I have never waited tables in my life. I’ve been around the action, taken a few quick orders, waited at some college events for charity, but I’ve never had that as my job title. So PLEASE help me all you waiters/ex-waiters out there… I have a question for you.
And yes, I’m using the word ‘waiters’ because waitress sounds sexist to me. Not sure if it is but I’ll play it safe. 🙂
Is waiting tables really that hard?
There’s a reason they call it ‘waiting,’ right? Doesn’t seem that hard to me.
This question has been floating around my head for years. I still have yet to figure it out. Perhaps I should shadow a busy waiter or apply at Applebee’s and figure it out myself. But why do that when I have access to some of the wisest brains on the interwebz! I’m talking about you! Yes, you. PLEASE help me understand what I’m missing.
Hi, my name is Will. I’ve been an ignorant foodie for 24 years.
Also, I did a little homework beforehand to prove I’m serious about sampling some new perspectives:
Here are my views on waiting tables:
Restaurant Perspective on Waiting Tables
I cooked a lot of food at the local restaurant. It was a lot of hard, hot work. We came in before any customers and we definitely left after they did. Waiters would come in only when there were customers. The cooks had to MAKE THE DANG FOOD and the waiters job is to walk it to a table. I know some customers can be jerks but that comes will all customer service roles. Right now I’m a bank analyst who has to deal with snarky bankers on a daily basis. I don’t complain though because it’s just part of the job. So I don’t think ‘putting up with rude customers’ is a reason to get paid more. It’s hit or miss in any customer/client-oriented role.
So after working at a restaurant for 4 years, I guess I didn’t gain a ton of respect for the trade of being a waiter..
Dining perspective on waiting tables
After seated, we are handed menus. Then we give our drink orders – I almost always order water with no ice. We peruse the menu, sometimes asking a question or 2. We order. The food comes out – thank you, cooks for preparing the lovely meal. (A customer once came back to the kitchen and tipped me because they enjoyed their steak – freaking MADE MY YEAR. Anyway, then the waiter refills our drinks. Smiles and butters us up for a good tip. We finish. The plates are cleared away. We pay 15-20% the worth of the meal. Done. I’ve paid tips before that are more than I make per hour as an analyst – a VERY skilled job!
So what in the world am I missing? I hate spending so much money tipping waiters for a service that doesn’t seem to require much effort.
This post is a follow-up to my post on First Quarter Finance last week. Here’s an excerpt showing my ignorance or frustration:
I’m not against tipping well but I’m a pretty easy customer. Having a waiter sit down a few plates and refill my glass of water once means my tip of $16 for the meal last night was a pretty darn good hourly rate. Last night, the waiter interacted with our table for about 3 minutes total. If a person works even 4 hours a day at 5 days per week making that rate, they would earn $332,800 pre-tax income in one year. And a lot of tips don’t get reported properly to the IRS.
As a disclaimer, I still tip 15-20% even though I honestly don’t understand why. I guess I don’t want an icky feeling in my stomach by not doing what’s socially acceptable. Really, playing follow-the-leader in society is a really stupid thing to do though. Also, I assume the waiter will fund his/her education or save up for a house or do something admirable like that.
Call me ignorant (I am!) or whatever else. It’s appropriate right now! It’s why I’m seeking help.
It’s Labor Day weekend. People dine out a lot when traveling. What do you tip and why?
Please comment even if you’re reading this after the weekend! I’m probably the only person right now blogging instead of boating. 🙂
Image courtesy of Christina Campisi